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Howai said that decision was taken by the board
a couple years ago. He said Government had received
from CAL a restructuring outline to deal with the
He continued: "We also intend to introduce sig-
nificant restructuring of a lot of the routes and we
have started that process with AJ and the Jamaican
route. We incurred a loss of $32 million on those
"The Jamaican Government has indicated concern
with that and we have undertaken to send a high
level team to Jamaica to discuss it with them (early
June). We'll discuss it with them but as of now we
are rationalising those routes to bring down costs."
A second major area of cost for the airline was
the London route. He said CAL was leasing two sets
of aircraft which contributed significantly to the
losses and those losses have been terminated. This
will significantly reduce the overall loss, he added.
"So I expect we should be able to significantly
reduce overall losses within the course of the year,"
Howai said CAL, while cash-strapped, has assets.
He said: "The thing is perhaps the decision made
in respect of how those assets will be leveraged and
the kind of leveraging we have for the balance sheet
was not something that may have been addressed
in the way perhaps others may have done.
"As a result of which I think it's not a question
that the company is insolvent, the company is in
a position to access cash to leverage the assets it
has that are unencumbered, so I expect with a
restructuring of a balance sheet, as well as other
initiatives, we should be able to return CAL to some
measure of viability going forward."
Howai said he was now tracking CAL's progress
with monthly figures
Speaking to reporters prior to Senate about regional
complaints, Howai said Government intended taking
care of business at home first before it could sit
down and talk with anyone else on its problems.
He said LIAT approached Government and CAL
regarding equity position in LIAT and where T&T
could perhaps be a larger LIAT shareholder, as LIAT
needed to get new planes.
Howai added: "That has become an issue. I told
the Government I'm not prepared to consider any
further involvement in the airline industry until CAL
gets comfortable and sorted out our CAL issues.
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CAL ticket report
goes to Cabinet
for 14TH MAY, 2013
Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) board
of directors should not be involved in any
deliberations where a company of theirs
is doing business with CAL, says Finance
Minister Larry Howai.
Today, Howai will receive further infor-
mation he asked for in relation to the alleged
request by a senior CAL executive for 19
complimentary tickets to a New York concert
and he will be taking the issue to tomorrow's
Cabinet meeting for a decision.
Howai spoke on the issue in between yes-
terday's Senate session and briefly during
the Senate sitting when asked by PNM sen-
The T&T Guardian reported last week
that 19 complimentary tickets had been
allegedly requested by CAL vice-chairman
Mohan Jaikaran for Mother's Day concerts
he was co-promoter of in New York and
In the Senate, Howai told PNM senators
Government had made no decision on the
issue as it was to be examined by Cabinet.
Speaking to reporters later, Howai, describ-
ing it as a "governance issue", said he received
a report on the matter from CAL but he and
Finance Ministry officials had a number of
questions on which further clarification was
being sought before anything was formally
taken to Cabinet.
He said he was told the information would
be available by today and once he had it he
intended to raise the matter with Cabinet.
Asked if any jobs were on the line, he said
he did not want to pre-empt Cabinet's talks.
Asked about the claim that the process
was used in previous years in an arrangement
that existed before, Howai said that was a
contention that was being put forward by
CAL in its report on the matter.
"They indicated this was an arrangement
for marketing the airline and therefore there
was an agreement that part of the cost was
picked up by the company and part by the
CAL marketing people," he added.
He said documents were submitted to
support the position but the ministry had
asked for further clarification on that.
"But we have additional questions on
which we need to get answers before we
proceed with a position to Cabinet," he said.
On Jaikaran's role, Howai said there was
the concern that although Jaikaran had a
company that was doing business with CAL,
Government expected a director would not
be involved in any way in discussions con-
cerning their own business aspect.
He said the board would be the appropriate
body to approve any such arrangement and
it was expected the director would be excused
from board deliberations in such situations.
He added: "We are trying to find out if
this was done. This information was not
included in the information we received but
we have asked questions as we have a par-
ticular expectation of how things should be
"There should be some protocol by which
this is done. If there's going to be an approval
of any such undertaking, then it should take
place in a particular kind of way. We are
saying the protocol must be approved at the
highest level and the director should not be
involved in any deliberations."
Howai said subject to correction, it seemed
the director may have liaised directly with
the management and "it would have created
some degree of discomfort along the line."
He said the situation should have been
handled in a particular way. He said the
board would also have to take into account
getting value for money.
Howai added: "The board has an obligation
in how it deals with things like this."
On whether Jaikaran was suitable to have
been on the board, Howai said Cabinet would
come to its conclusions on the matter.
Members of the Caribbean Airlines
(CAL) board are scheduled to meet today
even as ongoing questions over the com-
pany's operations, including an alleged
$1.4 billion debt and millions in losses and
write-offs, hang over their heads.
However, the meeting is likely to go on
without vice chairman Mohan Jaikaran and
CEO Robert Corbie, who were both out of
the country yesterday.
Attempts to contact Jaikaran on his cell-
phone also failed yesterday but a source
close to him said he was out of the country
undergoing a series of medical tests.
Corbie is also on leave in Canada with
his wife, who underwent an operation there,
CAL head of communications, Clint
Williams, confirmed yesterday.
"He (Corbie) was at her side yesterday
morning. He was hoping to come back today
(yesterday) but his wife is not out of the
woods as yet. Her recuperation may take
some time and I can't say when he will
return," Williams told the T&T Guardian.
Board in crucial meeting today
Finance Minister,Larry Howai answers a
question from the opposition during the
sitting of the Senate yesterday. PHOTO:
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